Leadership on school modernization ‘requires hard decisions’

3/10/2018, 9:55 a.m.

Re “Put Schools First offers $650M plan to modernize city schools,” Free Press March 1-3 edition:

The Paul Goldman plan to modernize our schools rightfully recognizes that we spend a disproportionate share of the taxpayers’ dollars on big salaries for bureaucrats at the expense of fixing problems like crumbling schools. 

It should trouble everyone that my budget plan to cut $2.3 million a year from Richmond Public Schools’ Downtown staff for the purpose of spending those dollars on facilities was met with silence by the School Board.

I recognize that it isn’t popular to announce to central office staff that you want to cut their positions in order to prioritize schools construction, but Mr. Goldman, like someone else I know, has the courage to do it and I commend him for it.

The truth is that we have a lot of folks Downtown working very hard, but any organization signals its priorities and, correspondingly, its values when budgeting. 

I believe the voters were very clear in November when 85 percent of the electorate said they wanted school buildings fixed. To do that necessitates leaders leading, and to lead requires hard decisions. 

I don’t need to endorse everything in Mr. Goldman’s plan, but there is a lot of merit in it. 

What makes sense is to prioritize new classrooms for our kids over some very well-compensated staffers, no matter how nice they may be. 



The writer represents the 4th District on the Richmond School Board.